Radiohead: Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano); Ed O'Brien (vocals, guitar); Jon Greenwood (guitar, recorder, piano, organ, synthesizer); Colin Greenwood (bass); Phil Selway (drums).
Additional personnel: John Matthias (violin, viola); Caroline Lavelle (cello).
Producers: John Leckie, Radiohead, Jim Warren, Nigel Godrich.
Engineers include: John Leckie, Nigel Godrich, Chris Brown.
Recorded at Rak, The Manor and Abbey Road, London, England.
On only their second outing Oxford's Radiohead fulfilled their huge potential, fashioning an album whose relentlessly downbeat tone was offset by an ability to formulate consistently winning melodies. The title track and "Just" throw some customary rock poses, but for the most part the band displayed a far more expansive approach. Thom Yorke emerged from the woodwork with a new-found vocal confidence, revealing a striking falsetto on two of the album's strongest tracks, "Fake Plastic Trees" and "High & Dry." The last three songs build inexorably to the stunning emotional climax of "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" with a control and poise that showcased the band's new maturity.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.120) - Ranked #110 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "[O]peratic, marrying a majestic and somber guitar sound to the virtuosic urgency of Thom Yorke's vocals..."
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, pp.58-59) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (5/18/95, p.88) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...THE BENDS [is] a sonically ambitious album that offers no easy hits. It's a guitar field day, blending acoustic strumming with twitches of fuzzy tremolo and eruptions of amplified paranoia..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/7/95, p.92) - "...Sometimes folky, sometimes rocky, the sophomore album from this English band offers a smorgasbord of guitar flavors, most of them tasty, The stylistic leaps make for schizoid listening....but give these boys credit for not standing still..." - Rating: B+
Q (6/00, p.75) - Ranked #35 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums"
Q (10/01, p.106) - Ranked #4 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime"
Q (12/99, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Q (2/96, p.63) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995 - "...THE BENDS' lasting mightiness is confirmed--as is the scary impression that they'll only get better..."
Alternative Press (4/95, p.71) - "...THE BENDS' greatest asset is its approximation of London Suede, all the parody and none of the pomp....THE BENDS proves that Radiohead didn't shoot their bolt with `Creep.' That there's a lot more stirring down there than their recent past might admit..."
Melody Maker (12/23-30/95, pp.66-67) - Ranked #6 on Melody Maker's list of 1995's `Albums Of The Year' - "Rock as self-evisceration....consistently, savagely brilliant..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #16 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[With] songs of such unpredictable elegance they would touch the heart in any setting."
NME (Magazine) (8/12/00, p.29) - Ranked #30 in The NME "Top 30 Heartbreak Albums" - "...Suburban bleakness....More personal than OK COMPUTER and all the more chilling for it."
NME (Magazine) (12/23-30/95, pp.22-23) - Ranked #4 in NME's `Top 50 Albums Of The Year' for 1995.